Murder charges have been filed against an Apple Valley father accused of killing his 13-day-old son. Michael Anthony Herkal, 32, was originally charged Aug. 14 with first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child. His son, Anthony Herkal, was on life support at the time, but died later the same day.
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis lawyer accused of “porno-trolling” pleaded guilty Friday, August 17, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Paul Hansmeier, 37, of Woodbury, and his law partner John Steele, an Illinois attorney, were charged in 2016 after authorities discovered they had orchestrated a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme in which they would bait internet users with porn movies, some they filmed themselves, in order to sue them for copyright infringement when the user tried to download the movie.
The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is backing Congressman Keith Ellison in his run for state attorney general despite a recent allegation of domestic abuse from a former girlfriend. The DFL central committee gathered Saturday in Cambridge to endorse candidates who prevailed in the Aug. 14 primary but didn’t already have the party’s official backing. Matt Pelikan won the DFL endorsement for attorney general earlier this summer at the party convention in Rochester. Ellison easily won the primary with nearly 50 percent of the vote in the five-person race.
An election judge in Dakota County was removed from his duties Tuesday afternoon after a voter in South St. Paul reported that the judge was telling voters not to vote for a certain city council candidate. The judge told Mark Westpfahl and others not to vote for Max Wallin; it is illegal for election judges to comment on candidates running for office.
An infant boy has died two days after his Apple Valley father was arrested on suspicion of child abuse. Michael Anthony Herkal, 32, told police his 2-year-old son had twice pulled the 13-day-old boy off a couch, according to an Apple Valley police narrative. Police say Herkal then said he had squeezed the squirming infant while changing his diaper and that the boy slipped out of his hands and onto a coffee table. A review of Herkal’s cell phone showed he had made several Google searches about 80 minutes before calling 911 on Sunday.
After nearly a decade, victims of disgraced Twin Cities businessman Tom Petters’ sweeping Ponzi scheme have started recouping some of their losses. The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday announced that an initial distribution of about $16 million has been issued to victims who got tangled up in Petters’ $2 billion scheme, the biggest financial crime in Minnesota history. The money will be sent to some 364 victims worldwide, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Minnesota. The funds were forfeited through criminal and civil proceedings won by prosecutors.
Michael Hill raped his 15-year-old female relative dozens of times. But after his first-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction, a Ramsey County District judge — in a departure from sentencing guidelines — granted Hill a stayed sentence despite pleas from a state prosecutor who argued that repeatedly raping a minor warranted prison. Assuming Hill abides by the terms of his probation, he will serve no prison time.
A little more than two weeks after winning the 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog contest, Zsa Zsa the English bulldog from Anoka has died. “I’m sad to share that ZSA ZSA passed away in her sleep last night,” owner Megan Brainard announced Tuesday on a Facebook page about her dog with a pronounced underbite and a lolling tongue. Related Photos and video of Zsa Zsa
MENDOTA HEIGHTS—A former music teacher at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights will serve six months in jail and 10 years on probation for having sex with a 17-year-old male student. Christine Lee Funk, 32, of New Hope, was sentenced Monday by Judge Richelle Wahi in Dakota County District Court after pleading guilty to one count of criminal sexual conduct. Two other counts were dismissed, but Funk also faces a suspended sentence of three years in prison if she violates the terms of her plea agreement. She also must register as a predatory offender.
The Twins reinstated third baseman Miguel Sano from the 10-day disabled list on Thursday. He had missed 24 games because of a left-hamstring strain. The Twins start a three-game series at Seattle on Friday at Safeco Field. Sano completed a five-game rehab assignment Wednesday at Triple-A Rochester, where he went 6 for 16 (.375) with two home runs, three RBIs and three walks.